I have kept bees commercially in South America and New Zealand for many years and I didn't think that any new beekeeping book would teach me much more about beekeeping. However a colleague recommended 'A Practical manual of Beekeeping' and I'm very glad that I read it. I learned an enormous amount. What other beekeeping manual will tell you how to safely make invert sugar syrup, or how to easily test for HMF levels in your own honey or how to test for Nosema in the field and David Cramp introduces bee genetics in a way that even I can understand - and there is so much more it is that comprehensive. Certainly no other book that I have read (and I have read most) has so much useful, practical, up to date and science based information on beekeeping. I really recommend it for both experienced and novice beekeepers whether commercial or hobbyists. It is easy to read, very comprehensive, written with humour and written by a very experienced and knowledgeable beekeeper and like the same authors 'Beekeepers Field Guide' this book will stay by my side while I continue beekeeping.
Along with about five other beekeeping titles, I requested David Cramp's book from my local library; I found it so much more readable and informative than the others that I renewed it over and over and finally (from embarrassment as much as anything) decided that I must have it to hand at all times so it was time to purchase my own copy. Even though I have read it all through, (and being of a certain age with slight memory impairment problems), it is a joy to dip into whenever I need to check on something. Highly recommended.
Individuals and published reviews quote Ted Hoopers book as No1. I don't have the knowledge to disagree but as a relatively inexperienced keeper I found that he wrote with an assumption of prior knowledge in his readership. This book does not. It has given me the confidence to undertake most inspections and manipulations of my colonies during the first year and just as importantly, when I have returned to other texts - Like Hooper I have then understood the text and taken the benefit. That may be a combination of practical experience as well as prior reading but I recommend this book for a structured, approachable, informative and at times amusing style. I have read fairly widely now and for me this book rates No1 for new to intermediate readers as a good all round reference and introduction.
I've been beekeeping for about seven years and whilst of course it's impossible to effectively learn the craft from books alone, a good reference book helps reinforce experience from the field, offer ideas and prime educational discussions with other beekeepers. The first beekeeping book I bought was `Guide to Bees and Honey' (Hooper) and I subsequently got a copy of `Bees at the Bottom of the Garden' (Campion). I find Cramp's book lies between the two; more readily accessible than Hooper and more comprehensive than Campion. It's eminently suitable for beginners and a good read from end to end, building up layers of knowledge in a logical, progressive way. The writing and description of procedures is very clear, the layout is easy on the eye, and the chapter on `problem-solving' is very welcome!
A few minor quibbles prevent a five star rating, and could perhaps be fixed in future editions. The main one is the absence of specific varroa treatment protocols, e.g oxalic acid trickle, (but the chapter on disease, including varroa, is otherwise very good) which seems surprising given the procedures included for other less vital things than varroa treatment. The photographs need to be sharper. Whilst the text is commendably clear and concise, the book would benefit from more illustrations (e.g. artificial swarming hive manoeuvres). Most beekeepers will have or develop something of an interest in the plants their charges visit. This is hardly touched on in Cramp but it's worth noting that Hooper includes a chapter describing bee-friendly plants and their merits.
The enthusiastic coverage of potential beekeeping careers beyond it just being a hobby should be commended but assuming the book is designed to a length and price, I'd still rather have those varroa treatment details.
Living in France and studying apiculture in french we decided that we needed a good book written in english to bolster our some what saggy french. I thought I would have to plough through A Practical Manual Of Beekeeping but found that I could not put it down and read it cover to cover in 3 days. It is comprehensive, honest and written with humour. Reading David Cramp's book has confirmed our decision to keep bees.
I bought this book and have read it cover to cover. There isn't much in here that you wouldn't get in other beekeeping books but the way it is written has made this the most useful bee book I have read so far. The author is an experienced beekeeper who has tried everything and he just tells you what works (and is honest about where he went wrong). The style is easy to read, there is no waffle, just the nuts and bolts. It really is a practical manual. I have several other beekeeping books but this one will be my reference from now on- the others will be the back up. The illustrations are limited, as are the photos, I would like to have seen more. The book seems mostly written for the UK but has advice suited to other locations too (the author has kept bees commercially in Spain and New Zealand). Highly recommended to beginner and journeyman beekeepers.
This is a wonderful Book, not too technical, easy to understand and well thought out. As a novice Beekeeper one is faced with a plethora of Books to read but I think this is one that I will come back to time and time again, it's a good reference source.
This book is very clearly written and produced. The author speaks from great experience of his subject and communicates his enthusiasm for this fascinating hobby. Useful for the newcomer to beekeeping and even those with more experience will still find plenty to learn.